IBM: Consumers Question Whether Food is Safe
Fewer than 20 percent of consumers trust food companies to
produce and sell products that are safe and healthy for them to eat, according
to a new study by IBM.
Sixty percent of consumers in the 10 largest cities in the
U.S said they were concerned about the safety of food they buy.
The large number of well-publicized recalls in recent years
appears to have had an effect on consumers’ perceptions of food safety.
A total of 83 percent of respondents said they could name at least one
item recalled over the past two years. Forty-six percent mentioned peanut
butter, the most frequently identified recall of the past two years. Spinach
was mentioned by roughly 15 percent.
"Across the board, consumers are demanding transparency
and more information about the food they purchase to ensure their safety
and that of their families,"
said Guy Blissett, consumer products leader, IBM Institute for Business Value,
in a press release. "As the government, industry associations,
retailers and manufacturers work through the operational issues associated
with ensuring food safety, we can each become more aware and take greater
responsibility for the food we purchase."
Seventy-seven percent of consumers told IBM they want more
information on the food they purchase.
Seventy-six percent want to know about
a product’s origin(s). Roughly 76,000 people become ill each year due to
food poisoning with 5,000 dying.
"The ability to trace a contaminated product all the
way back to the source of production is key to modernizing our food industry.
It would also allow producers to more precisely identify the source of
a problem in order to improve production practices and could help narrow
the scope of recalls by more quickly identifying the specific plant or
country of origin," said Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety,
Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Discussion Questions: Are consumers
more concerned about food safety today than in the past? Are the right
steps currently being taken by the food industry and government to create
a significantly safer food supply?
- Less Than 20% of Consumers Trust Food They Buy Is Safe
and Healthy, IBM Survey Reveals – IBM/PRNewswire-FirstCall